After the Celtics' second week of play, they sit with a record of 3-3. The team has continued to struggle to find their identity, a proper bench rotation, and consistent effort on both offense and defense. In this Rookie Report we'll cover the newcomers contributions this past week, how bench rotation will alter minutes, and what to look for this week.
(Jared Sullinger #7 of the Boston Celtics takes a jump shot against Thaddeus Young#21 of the Philadelphia 76ers on November 9, 2012 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jared Sullinger - In the Celtics second week of action the team faced familiar foes matched up against their division rival Philadelphia 76ers and two teams played in week one; the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks.
In week one we saw Jared Sullinger's minutes steadily increase. Interestingly enough the opposite occurred in week two even though the Celtics faced the same teams. In their previous games Jared Sullinger started at the four spot and steadily gained floor time. Sully started off the week playing 24 minutes, while shooting 2-5 finishing with 4 points and 4 rebounds in the Celtics OT win over Washington. Sullinger's overall performance wasn't bad but was trumped by Brandon Bass' 11 points, 4 of which came at critical points in the end of the game.
Jared then followed up on Friday with an identical performance finishing with 4 points and 4 rebounds over 19 minutes in a loss to the 76ers. Sully's playing time decreased in the game as Chris Wilcox gained playing time after providing a spark off the bench Wednesday night. Wilcox again rose to the challenge showing his work ethic by running the floor and contributing 6 points on 1-1 shooting.
On Saturday night we saw Sully fall from the starting line-up as Doc Rivers decided to go with Brandon Bass at the starting four spot. Jared also saw his playing time get cut back to just 7 minutes as Wilcox was the first substitution of the bench for KG. While many may not like to see this change so soon there is some solid evidence to Doc's changes.
(Kevin Seraphin #13 of the Washington Wizards goes up for a shot against Jared Sullinger of the Boston Celtics ACTION against the Washington Wizards on November 7, 2012 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Copyright 2012 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
As many know KG is on a strict 5 minute cycle in his playing time. For those who don't; KG plays 5 minutes straight giving it his all in every facet of the game. He then is the first sub out of the game until he gets the call to return for another 5 minute cycle. While this gets the most out of KG's minutes it also leaves Doc Rivers with the difficult task of determining who replaces KG and what pairings produce the best results. In the past week, as Chris Wilcox has shined, so has the line-up he compliments. In fact, per ESPN reporter Chris Forsberg:
"When Sullinger and Bass have shared the floor this season, the Celtics are minus-39.2 points per 48 minutes. The Wilcox-Bass (+13.2 points per 48), Wilcox-Green (+16.6) and Wilcox-Sullinger (+69.7) pairings all are decidedly better in a small early-season sample."
Hopefully with this understanding the Celtics will be able to establish the proper bench rotation and execute to the fullest. This may mean a decreased role for Sullinger but keep in mind Doc did say he would vary the starting power forward based on match-ups. Don't be surprised to still see Sully in the starting line-up at times. What would surprise me is if we see the Bass-Sullinger pairing in any depth.
Kris Joseph & Fab Melo - Unlike Sully both Kris and Fab have seen little action in team play this year. As the Celtics continue to experiment with line-ups and the bench rotation it's a safe bet Monsieur Joseph and Fab Melo will have limited roles. Keep in mind the D-League kicks off its 2012-2013 schedule Friday, November 16. The Celtics' minor league affiliate the Maine Red Claws, don't start the season until Friday, November 23.
Look out for Fab Melo and potentially even Kris Joseph to spend some time up north. Fab in general could move to the Red Claws by the end of the week to begin practicing with the team. Here at Celtics Green we'll make sure to track any performances by the two up north and report on any major developments.
The Celtics have a real busy week three schedule playing five games in seven days. They kick off their week against the Chicago Bulls in Chicago tonight at 8pm. The team then faces games back to back first returning home Wednesday as the Utah Jazz will be in town and then on the road at the Brooklyn Nets' Barclays Center. The C's will go into the weekend with another back to back series with a game Saturday versus Toronto at home and then away again in Detroit as they face the Pistons.